Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rumors Heard in MySpace, Episode 12

A year ago, Racer and I tossed around ideas of how we could pass on some music information to you that you may have missed through the course of your normal lives. We settled on this feature that you’re reading right now. In the past year, we’ve taken you all over the map and shined a spotlight in some really bizarre places, and on some really bizarre bands. This episode is no different, my friends! This month, we’re gonna’ spend a great amount of time in France. Why? Well, France seems to be hoppin’ right now with some fantastic music that you simply need to know about. I’m not completely certain on the rest of the trips itinerary. How about we just make it ups as we go along? Alrighty then. Hop aboard Air Ripple as we fly this sucker halfway across the globe. Buckle up and return your seats and trays to the upright position. Contact!

If you’ve been a loyal reader over the past six months or so, you’ve read reviews on a couple of French acts by the name of Hollow Corp. and Gojira. Following in those same massive footsteps is a band so big and mighty that in due time they’ll be casting their own footprints. The band is called Hacride and much like the aforementioned countrymen, they create sonically blistering music that is aggressive and as atom splitting as any extreme metal band. But they do what I love and change things up midway through the music. Incorporating ambient textures and subtle moments of musicality, Hacride are developing a sound that should have them standing shoulder to shoulder with their peers within a blast of beat. The new album is complete recording-wise and is scheduled to be released in Spring of 2009 on Listenable Records. From what I’ve gathered, it appears to be the second album from this outfit, so there’s material for you all to go out and investigate. Lord knows I’ll be hunting the stuff down. Swing by their page and check out the new stuff. It kicks much ass!

For you fans of the droning doom sounds of bands like Neurosis, there’s another band that will pummel your gray matter into jelly. The band is called END. and they are quite possibly the heaviest band on the face of the earth. Alright. That may be an overstatement, but if it truly is, then it’s not by much. The guitar and bass tones that these guys work with are astoundingly dense. Check out the tune “Existence Asleep” and hear the imposing sounds that I’m referring to. Devastating, huh? I can’t be certain if they’re preparing to release a new album or not, but the buzz that I’ve been hearing on MySpace is leading me to believe so. If not, then it looks like we’re all going to have to go to the store and pick up their EP, The Never Ending Whirl of Confusion.

As this trip across the French countryside begins to wind itself down, we find ourselves downshifting to the mid tempo, riff heavy doom metal of Century. My first listens to these cats reminded me of that old school heavy rock stuff like Thin Lizzy, but maybe a bit dirtier. That could be a production thing, though. “Hope Away” has that stoned out groove thing going on throughout and the guitar solo takes me back to that summer in 1980something when I listened to The Scorpions like they were the only band on the planet. “Requiem for Pain” is more up tempo than the first, but no less stoned out. If anything, it may be a bit heavier. I’m looking forward to their album to come out (there is an album coming out, right?) so that I can delve deeper into this stuff. It sounds good. It sounds honest.

Now that I’ve spent my entire French vacation rocking out, I need something that’s going to soothe me for awhile. You know . . . kinda’ recharge the batteries for the next onslaught of metal that I will inevitably feast upon. Most of you who know me know that I’m not much into pop music, but I’m not opposed to it. And if it has an edge to it, or there’s something unique to it, odds are I’ll give it a thumbs up. Enter Alex Alistair. This guy writes some beautifully melodic pop music that immediately had me bobbing my head and shaking my hips (you’ll need therapy to get that image out of your head.) Alex sings all of his songs in French, which is one of those unique aspects to pop that I bless. The other thing is this stuff has an air of danger to it. The first track on his player is an upbeat track with a groovin’ bass line, and then he changes things up by going acoustic on the next song. Throughout all of it, his voice soothes all of the stress and troubles away. The melody at the chorus for “il suffit” is astoundingly beautiful! I have no idea what he’s saying, and as I’ve said a hundred and twelve times before, it doesn’t really matter that much. It’s moving and it touches the emotions. This was a great way to wind up our journey through France. Grab a bottle of wine and let’s go check things out in Italy, shall we?

Italy doesn’t usually strike me as a Mecca for heavy metal, but I guess every culture has their angst ridden youth. Apparently, Idols Are Dead is the heavy metal ambassador for Italy and they bring an odd blend of thrash-y metal mixed with sleaze rock. Heavy, driving metalized riffs with plenty of double bass drum accents make up the majority of the music on their album, Mean. When the singer’s not throwing around profanities, he’s attacking the choruses with a great sense of melody and just enough snarl to keep one from stealing his last cookie. Once you check out their page, you’ll get a good sense of what these guys are about. There are a bunch of tracks on their player, and a few videos to help give you the visual. We were turned onto these guys by our good friends at All About the Music Publicity, who are now the acting management group for the band.

What say we head north for awhile? Right on. Our next stop on the globe trottin’ expedition is the Netherlands where we get to poke our heads in on our new found friends, Ceremony of Opposites. These extreme metallers are offering up four meaty tracks of high quality blackened death metal. Their tune, “Posttraumatic Disorder,” is a rollicking good time. Well, as much of a good time as one can have with death metal. The palm muted riffs through the mid tempo portions are pretty frickin’ awesome, and the methed out, makes you take notice. I especially like the acoustic guitar break with its Spanish flavor! I’ll be checking in with them periodically to see how things are coming with their upcoming album.

Hopping across the channel, or sea, or whatever body of water that is, we find ourselves back in our home away from home. Sweden! The land of all that is music! News coming out of the Gothenburg area is that the psychedelic sounds of First Band From Outer Space are preparing to put out a new album through Kommun 2. I’m a bit fuzzy on the details as to when it’s being released or what the title of the work is called, but there are three tracks that the band has recently posted on their page that appear to be new. I’m not so much fuzzy on the details because of any psychedelia going on. It’s more due to the information is a bit spotty. Hell . . . even if there is no new album in the works, you really oughta’ go by their page and hear their tuff. It’s freaking incredible!

Also coming out of Sweden is a reunion of sorts. Yes! Our favorite Lords of Evil are back and bringin’ a hurtin’ on anyone and everyone. Transport League is reforming for a one off gig in May featuring the Superevil era line up. As excited about this as I am, I’d be much more excited if this course of events turned into something longer lasting with a possible new album. Why? Coz’ these guys kick ass! Go listen to Superevil and then get back to me. They have that super sludge-y, stoner-ific sound that just tells ya’ that these guys mean business. Go to their page and be pummeled!

Heading back to the States, we’re going to make a short layover in Minnesota and visit with our new friends, Oceans. This prog rock outfit has just released an album called Endurance, which you can hear some snippets from on their page. The first thing that stands out for me when listening to these tracks is the bass tone is otherworldly. That’s some warm stuff! The music, in typical prog fashion, is complex and intricate. However, don’t be deterred by the prog leanings! These songs aren’t so over the top with musical virtuosity to make it impossible to listen to. These are good rock songs with a lot going on in them. Spend some time on this page. You won’t be sorry.

Finally, I’m back in SoCal and there’s news on the local front. Early last month, the old school local hardcore band Amenity got back together for a reunion gig. Well, apparently, this little get together is going to last longer than a one off gig in the middle of winter. It looks, and sounds, like the lads have made their way into the studio to lay down tracks for a new EP for a 2009 release. There’s a new song that y’all need to listen to called “Shine” and I’ll be damned if it doesn’t make these guys sound more vital today than they did twenty years ago. There also some video clips for the reunion gig. For those who want to know what it felt like being a part of the San Diego hardcore scene in the late ‘80’s, the first clip of the band playing “Impel” will give you a great idea of what it was like. Merely an idea, though. To truly know what it was like, you had to be there.

That’s it . . . I’m home and hittin’ the sack. Good travelin’ with y’all! See ya’ next month! - Pope JTE

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